October 15 Protests in Luxembourg

October 16th, 2011  |  Published in Luxembourg, Politics  |  2 Comments

Yesterday there were big protests all over the world; Aaron Bady has lots of great photos over at his place. From what I hear, the march back in New York was large and successful.

Here in Luxembourg, things were a little more sedate. Here are some pictures of varying quality, which you can click to expand.

I got downtown at around 4:30, at which point the rally in the Place d’Armes had already been going for half an hour:

Stage shot

The speeches only lasted another 10 or 15 minutes after I got there; what I heard (and was in a language I understood) was pretty broad stuff about global economic justice, nothing too exciting to report. That crew on stage punctuated every brief speech with music though. I’m bad at estimating crowds, but there must have been a few hundred people there at least:

The Crowd at the Plaza

That might not sound very impressive, but keep in mind that Luxembourg City is a town of 80,000 people, of which some substantial fraction are bankers, and I think some folks went up to Brussels for the big demonstration there.

One thing that was very much absent was any of the major political parties. This guy’s swag from “The Left” was exceptional:

dei Lenk shoulder bag

The organizers had covered the stage with signs, which reflected Luxembourg’s crazy quilt of languages and ethnicities. The messages on the right are, I believe, in the local Lëtzebuergesch language:

Signs in French and Luxembourgish

The dominant inspiration for yesterday’s event wasn’t Occupy Wall Street as much as it was the Spanish “indignados”:

If you're not indignant, you're not informed

There were also messages related to more general European-level concerns:

Against the Euro Pact

We Don't Want to Save Banks!!!!

And some good old anti-capitalism:

Capitalism = Cannibalism

That’s not to say that USA-related messages were absent:

USA-themed signs

And the “99%” meme has made it here too. I swear I took this picture yesterday, even though it looks like it came from some kind of activist stock photo site:

Luxembourgers are also the 99 percent

After the speeches wrapped up, we started marching through downtown Luxembourg City. Note what you won’t see in the following pictures: cops. I literally didn’t see a single one either at the rally, or as we marched around town, alternately on the sidewalks and in the streets. In fact, I’ve only seen the police once in the nearly two weeks I’ve been here, which really underscores the awful militarized quality of everyday life in American cities. I miss a lot of things about the U.S., but I’m very happy to be 3000 miles away from the nearest NYPD officer.

We were led on our march by this crew of singers and musicians; I guess they’re supposed to represent a cross-section of the working class, but they kind of look the activist Village People:

The Activist Village People

We stopped in front of the Grand Duke’s palace, which is the sort of thing you don’t get to do at American protests. Note the lone armed guard marching in the background:

At the Grand Duke's palace

Another shot at the palace

We wrapped things up at this overlook; protesting in Luxembourg can be very scenic!

A scenic end to the march

Finally, this has nothing to do with the protests, it’s just some miscellaneous awesomeness. On my way home, I came across these kids breakdancing underneath the main bus terminal:

Breakdancers!

Responses

  1. Sunday Reading « zunguzungu says:

    October 16th, 2011 at 8:31 am (#)

    […] October 15 Protests in Luxembourg […]

  2. Ralph Haygood says:

    October 16th, 2011 at 1:14 pm (#)

    Thanks for posting this.

    The superabundance of police at the American protests really is remarkable (I observed it firsthand yesterday in Raleigh, NC). Who’d have thought a few hundred or thousand people just standing around and talking or marching along a sidewalk and chanting a little bit would be so menacing to society? Could it be that the ruling class is so fearful because it has a guilty conscience? (I kid, of course.)

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